Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying Ottawa, Ontario September 24, The Lobbyists Code of Conduct A Consultation Paper

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1 Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying Ottawa, Ontario September 24, 2013 The Lobbyists Code of Conduct A Consultation Paper

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3 INTRODUCTION The Lobbying Act (the Act) gives the Commissioner of Lobbying the authority to develop a code of conduct for lobbyists and directs her to consult persons and organizations that the Commissioner considers are interested in the Code. The objective of the Lobbyists Code of Conduct (the Code) is to assure the Canadian public that lobbying is done ethically and with the highest standards, with a view to conserving and enhancing public confidence and trust in the integrity, objectivity and impartiality of government decisionmaking. Canada s lobbying legislation has been amended several times since the Code was first adopted in March However, the Code has remained unchanged. Based on the Commissioner s experience administering the Code, she believes it is timely to seek input from lobbyists, public office holders, academics and other interested parties on whether changes to the Code are necessary to ensure it continues to meet its stated objective. The purpose of this discussion paper is to elicit submissions from individuals and organizations that will guide the Commissioner in determining whether revisions to the Code are required. Next year will be dedicated to sharing the results of the consultation and proposing amendments, if any, to the Code. THE LOBBYISTS CODE OF Canada s Lobbyists Code of Conduct came into effect on March 1, 1997 following extensive consultations with a large number of people and organizations. The Code establishes mandatory standards of conduct for individuals who engage in activities deemed registrable under the Act. It does so by expressing three overarching principles: Integrity and Honesty; Openness; and Professionalism. Furthermore, the Code contains eight rules that place specific obligations and requirements on lobbyists. The rules are organized into three categories: Transparency; Confidentiality; and Conflict of Interest. Breaches of the Code do not carry fines or jail terms. Following investigations into alleged breaches of the Code, the Commissioner of Lobbying is required to publish her findings and conclusions, and the reasons for her conclusions, in a Report on Investigation tabled in both Houses of Parliament. The Commissioner has tabled 10 Reports on Investigation to date. In these reports, she determined that nine individuals had breached the Code because they failed to register their lobbying activities, one had lobbied while prohibited, and two had placed a public office holder in an apparent conflict of interest. The Lobbyists Code of Conduct is an important tool not only for lobbyists, but also for federal public office holders. As the objects of lobbying, it is essential that they understand what behaviours to expect from the lobbyists who communicate with them. 1

4 In addition to the federal Code 1, lobbyists are guided by codes of conduct in the provinces of Québec and Newfoundland and Labrador, and in the cities of Toronto and Ottawa 2. Several industry associations have developed codes of conduct for their members. The United States, the United Kingdom, France, the European Commission and Australia also have codes of conduct for lobbyists. 3 QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION The Commissioner of Lobbying would like your feedback on the Lobbyists Code of Conduct. The following questions have been developed as a starting point to promote discussion on whether improvements are necessary to strengthen the Code. In making your comments, you may choose to answer some or all questions. You may also address other issues related to the Code that are not raised by the questions below. 1. What should be the objectives of a lobbyists code of conduct? 2. Which interactions should the code of conduct regulate other than those between a lobbyist and a public office holder? Should communications between lobbyists and clients be regulated? Between clients and public office holders? 3. Does the current Lobbyists Code of Conduct need more clarity? 4. What are the top 10 rules you would like to see in a code of conduct? 5. The current Lobbyists Code of Conduct includes a Preamble, Principles and Rules. Should the format change? 6. Codes of conduct from other jurisdictions and professional associations include sections such as an introduction, preamble, purpose, objectives, application, principles, rules, definitions, conclusion, sanctions, etc. What would you like to include in a code of conduct? 7. Should a code of conduct apply to both lobbyists and clients? 8. Is the sanction for breaches of the Lobbyists Code of Conduct well understood and communicated? 9. Is it well understood that failure to comply with the Act may also result in a breach of the Lobbyists Code of Conduct? 10. Should the client have an obligation to ensure the lobbyist they hire complies with the Lobbyists Code of Conduct? 1 The federal Lobbyists Code of Conduct can be found in Appendix A. 2 Provincial and municipal codes of conducts can be found in Appendix B. 3 Links to the web versions of other codes of conduct have been provided in Appendix C. 2

5 MAKING A SUBMISSION If you have any comments regarding the Lobbyists Code of Conduct, please provide them before December 20, 2013 to: Lobbyists Code of Conduct Consultations Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying 255 Albert Street Ottawa, ON K1A 0R5 Fax: To ensure transparency, all responses related to the Lobbyists Code of Conduct will be treated as public documents and will be posted on the Office s website in the language in which they were submitted. Thank you for your participation in this consultation. If you have any questions about the process, please visit or 3

6 APPENDIX A THE FEDERAL LOBBYISTS CODE OF Preamble The Lobbyists' Code of Conduct is founded on four concepts stated in the Lobbying Act: Free and open access to government is an important matter of public interest; Lobbying public office holders is a legitimate activity; It is desirable that public office holders and the public be able to know who is engaged in lobbying activities; and, A system for the registration of paid lobbyists should not impede free and open access to government. The Lobbyists' Code of Conduct is an important initiative for promoting public trust in the integrity of government decision-making. The trust that Canadians place in public office holders to make decisions in the public interest is vital to a free and democratic society. To this end, public office holders, when they deal with the public and with lobbyists, are required to honour the standards set out for them in their own codes of conduct. For their part, lobbyists communicating with public office holders must also abide by standards of conduct, which are set out below. Together, these codes play an important role in safeguarding the public interest in the integrity of government decision-making. Principles Integrity and Honesty Lobbyists should conduct with integrity and honesty all relations with public office holders, clients, employers, the public and other lobbyists. Openness Lobbyists should, at all times, be open and frank about their lobbying activities, while respecting confidentiality. Professionalism Lobbyists should observe the highest professional and ethical standards. In particular, lobbyists should conform fully with not only the letter but the spirit of the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct as well as all the relevant laws, including the Lobbying Act and its regulations. 4

7 APPENDIX A THE FEDERAL LOBBYISTS CODE OF Rules Transparency 1. Identity and purpose Lobbyists shall, when making a representation to a public office holder, disclose the identity of the person or organization on whose behalf the representation is made, as well as the reasons for the approach. 2. Accurate information Lobbyists shall provide information that is accurate and factual to public office holders. Moreover, lobbyists shall not knowingly mislead anyone and shall use proper care to avoid doing so inadvertently. 3. Disclosure of obligations Lobbyists shall indicate to their client, employer or organization their obligations under the Lobbying Act, and their obligation to adhere to the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct. Confidentiality 4. Confidential information Lobbyists shall not divulge confidential information unless they have obtained the informed consent of their client, employer or organization, or disclosure is required by law. 5. Insider information Lobbyists shall not use any confidential or other insider information obtained in the course of their lobbying activities to the disadvantage of their client, employer or organization. Conflict of interest 6. Competing interests Lobbyists shall not represent conflicting or competing interests without the informed consent of those whose interests are involved. 7. Disclosure Consultant lobbyists shall advise public office holders that they have informed their clients of any actual, potential or apparent conflict of interest, and obtained the informed consent of each client concerned before proceeding or continuing with the undertaking. 5

8 APPENDIX A THE FEDERAL LOBBYISTS CODE OF 8. Improper influence Lobbyists shall not place public office holders in a conflict of interest by proposing or undertaking any action that would constitute an improper influence on a public office holder. 6

9 Code of Conduct for Lobbyists (Québec) This is not the official version of the Code of Conduct for Lobbyists (Québec). It has been printed in this document for convenience of reference. The official version can be found at =/T_11_011/T11_011R2_A.html. Updated to 1 September 2013 chapter T , r. 2 Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Act (chapter T , s. 37) PREAMBLE The Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Act (chapter T ) recognizes that lobbying is a legitimate means of access to parliamentary, government and municipal institutions and that it is in the interest of the public that it be able to know who is attempting to influence such institutions. As part of the pursuit of the Act's objectives to foster transparency in and the proper conduct of lobbying activities, this Code of conduct for lobbyists enacts standards to govern and guide lobbyists in the course of lobbying activities, which activities may contribute to informed decision-making by public office holders. Together with the standards of conduct applicable to public office holders, this Code of conduct for lobbyists aims at contributing, in the best interest of democratic life, to the preservation and enhancement of the confidence citizens place in their parliamentary, government and municipal institutions. Decision , preamble. CHAPTER I OBJECT 1. The object of this Code is to establish standards of conduct for lobbyists in order to ensure that lobbying activities are properly conducted and to foster transparency in the lobbying of public office holders. Decision , s. 1. 7

10 Code of Conduct for Lobbyists (Québec) CHAPTER II GENERAL PROVISIONS AND INTERPRETATION 2. In case of doubt, lobbyists shall act in accordance with the spirit of the Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Act (chapter T ), the regulations thereunder and this Code. For that purpose, lobbyists shall, in particular, take into account the notices issued and published by the Lobbyists Commissioner and the Lobbyists Registrar pursuant to sections 22 and 52 of the Act. Decision , s In representing the special interests of a client, a business or an organization, lobbyists shall take the public interest into account. Decision , s. 3. CHAPTER III DUTIES AND OBLIGATIONS DIVISION I RESPECT FOR INSTITUTIONS 4. In carrying on their activities, lobbyists shall be respectful of parliamentary, government and municipal institutions and of public office holders. They shall also respect the right to equal access to those institutions. Decision , s. 4. DIVISION II HONESTY AND INTEGRITY 5. Lobbyists shall discharge the obligations pertaining to their lobbying activities and conduct such activities with honesty and integrity. Decision , s Lobbyists shall ensure that the information they provide to a public office holder is, to their knowledge, accurate, complete and kept up to date. Decision , s Lobbyists shall respect the right of the public to accurate information where, in support of lobbying activities, they use written or electronic means of communications to influence public opinion. Decision , s. 7. 8

11 Code of Conduct for Lobbyists (Québec) 8. Lobbyists shall refrain from making false or deceptive representations to a public office holder and from intentionally misleading anyone. Decision , s Lobbyists shall not induce a public office holder to contravene the standards of conduct applicable to him or her. Decision , s Lobbyists shall refrain from directly or indirectly exerting undue pressure on a public office holder. Decision , s Unless they have obtained the informed consent of the persons whose interests are at stake and notified accordingly the public office holder they are lobbying, lobbyists shall not (1) represent competing or adverse interests; or (2) place themselves in a situation where there is a real, potential or apparent conflict between their direct or indirect personal interest and the interests they represent. Decision , s Lobbyists shall not use, for purposes other than those of their mandate, confidential information obtained in the course of their lobbying activities. Decision , s Lobbyists who are retained for compensation to advise a public office holder shall not lobby the parliamentary, government or municipal institution in which the public office holder exercises his or her functions, in connection with any question for which the lobbyists act as advisors. Decision , s. 13. DIVISION III PROFESSIONALISM 14. Lobbyists shall foster, among the public and through their professional dealings, a good understanding of their activities and of the legitimacy of such activities. In addition, they shall refrain from acting in any manner that may discredit the occupation of lobbyist. Decision , s

12 Code of Conduct for Lobbyists (Québec) 15. Lobbyists shall inform the client, business or organization whose interests they are representing, of their duties and obligations under the Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Act (chapter T ), the regulations thereunder and this Code. Decision , s When they communicate with a public office holder, lobbyists shall specify the identity of the client, business or organization whose interests they are representing as well as the purpose of the communication. Decision , s Lobbyists shall not, by any means whatsoever, conceal or try to conceal the identity of the client, business or organization whose interests they are representing. Decision , s Lobbyists shall be diligent and cooperative in their relations with the Lobbyists Commissioner and the Lobbyists Registrar. They shall particularly, within reasonable time, (1) answer any request for particulars relating to the information entered or to be entered in the registry of lobbyists; (2) upon request, amend or clarify any return, notice or request that is incomplete or is not in conformity with the Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Act (chapter T ) or the regulations thereunder; (3) answer any request addressed to them by the Lobbyists Commissioner in the course of an inquiry or inspection. Decision , s. 18. CHAPTER IV FINAL PROVISIONS 19. Under section 33 of the Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Act (chapter T ), the Lobbyists Commissioner is responsible for monitoring and controlling the lobbying of public office holders. In accordance with Chapter IV of the Act, disciplinary measures and penalties may be imposed on a lobbyist in the event of a breach or infringement of this Code. Decision , s

13 Code of Conduct for Lobbyists (Québec) 20. (Omitted). Decision , s. 20. REFERENCES Decision , 2004 G.O. 2,

14 Lobbyists Code of Conduct (Newfoundland and Labrador) This is not the official version of the Lobbyists Code of Conduct (Newfoundland and Labrador). It has been printed in this document for convenience of reference. The official version can be found at Introduction This Code of Conduct is founded on the principles set out in section 3 of the Lobbyist Registration Act. The purpose of this Code is to assure the public that lobbying is done ethically and with the highest standards, with a view to maintaining and enhancing public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of government decision-making. In this regard, the Code complements the registration requirements of the Lobbyist Registration Act. Lobbyists are required to comply with the provisions of the Code of Conduct. This Introduction states the purposes of the Code and places it in a broader context. Next comes a body of overriding principles, which set out in positive terms the goals and objectives to be attained. Then there are specific rules, which provide more detailed requirements for behaviour in certain situations. Principles Integrity and Honesty Lobbyists should conduct with integrity and honesty all relations with public office holders, clients, employers, the public and other lobbyists. Openness Lobbyists should at all times be open and frank about their lobbying activities, while respecting confidentiality. Professionalism Lobbyists should observe the highest professional and ethical standards. In particular, lobbyists should conform fully not only with the letter but also with the spirit of the Lobbyists Code of Conduct as well as all relevant laws, including the Lobbyist Registration Act and its regulations. 12

15 Lobbyists Code of Conduct (Newfoundland and Labrador) Rules Transparency 1. Identity and purpose Lobbyists shall, when making a representation to a public office holder, disclose the identity of the person or organization on whose behalf the representation is made, as well as the reasons for the representation. 2. Accurate information Lobbyists shall provide information that is accurate and factual to public office holders. Moreover, lobbyists shall not knowingly mislead anyone and shall use proper care to avoid doing so inadvertently. 3. Disclosure of obligations Lobbyists shall indicate to their client, employer or organization their obligations under the Lobbyist Registration Act, and their obligation to adhere to this Code. Confidentiality 4. Confidential information Lobbyists shall not divulge confidential information unless they have obtained the informed consent of their client, employer or organization, or disclosure is required by law. 5. Insider information Lobbyists shall not use any confidential or other insider information obtained in the course of their lobbying activities to the disadvantage of their client, employer or organization. Conflict of Interest 6. Competing interests Lobbyists shall not represent conflicting or competing interests without the informed consent of those whose interests are involved. 13

16 Lobbyists Code of Conduct (Newfoundland and Labrador) 7. Disclosure Lobbyists shall advise public office holders that they have informed their clients of any actual, potential or apparent conflict of interest, and obtain the informed consent of each client concerned before proceeding or continuing with the undertaking. 8. Improper influence Lobbyists shall not place public office holders in a conflict of interest by proposing or undertaking any action that would constitute an improper influence on a public office holder. Commencement This Code of Conduct comes into force on the same day the Lobbyist Registration Act comes into force. (October 11, 2005) 14

17 Lobbying By-Law Article IV Lobbyists Code of Conduct (City of Toronto) This is not the official version of the Lobbyists Code of Conduct (City of Toronto). It has been printed in this document for convenience of reference. The official version can be found at Standard of behaviour. A. Lobbyists shall comply with the standards of behaviour for lobbyists and the conduct of lobbying activities set out in this article when lobbying public office holders. B. Lobbyists shall observe and comply with the highest ethical and professional standards. C. The Code of Conduct in this article sets out minimum standards of behaviour for lobbyists in their dealings with the City government, including local boards and public office holders Honesty. Lobbyists shall conduct with integrity and honesty all relations with public office holders, clients, employers, the public and other lobbyists Disclosure of identity and purpose. A. Lobbyists communicating with a public office holder shall disclose the identity of the individual, corporation, organization or other person, or the partnership, on whose behalf they are acting, as well as the reasons for the communication. B. Lobbyists communicating with a public office holder on a duly registered and disclosed subject matter shall not use that opportunity to communicate on another subject matter, unless first having registered as required and disclosing the identity and purpose Compliance with policies restricting communication. A. Lobbyists shall not communicate in relation to a procurement process except as permitted by applicable procurement policies and procurement documents. 15

18 Lobbying By-Law Article IV Lobbyists Code of Conduct (City of Toronto) B. Lobbyists shall not communicate in relation to an application for approval and the associated review process, except as permitted by applicable policies and procedures Prohibited activities. A. Lobbyists shall not undertake to lobby in a form or manner that includes offering, providing or bestowing entertainment, gifts, meals, trips or favours of any kind. B. Lobbyists shall not request public office holders to endorse or recommend their services. C. Lobbyists shall not conduct lobbying activities at a charitable event, community or civic event, or similar public gathering Information; confidentiality. A. Lobbyists shall inform their client, employer or organization of the obligations under this chapter. B. Lobbyists shall provide information that is accurate and factual to public office holders. C. Lobbyists shall not knowingly mislead anyone and shall use proper care to avoid doing so inadvertently. D. Lobbyists shall be open and frank about their lobbying activities, while respecting confidentiality. E. Lobbyists shall not divulge confidential information unless they have obtained the informed consent of their client, employer or organization, or disclosure is required by law. F. Lobbyists shall not use any confidential or other insider information obtained in the course of their lobbying activities to the disadvantage of their client, employer or organization Competing interests. A. Lobbyists shall not represent conflicting or competing interests without the written consent of those whose interests are involved. 16

19 Lobbying By-Law Article IV Lobbyists Code of Conduct (City of Toronto) B. Lobbyists shall advise public office holders that they have informed their clients of any actual, potential or apparent conflict of interest and obtained the informed consent of each client concerned before proceeding or continuing with the undertaking Improper influence. A. Lobbyists shall avoid both the deed and the appearance of impropriety. B. Lobbyists shall not place public office holders in a conflict of interest or in breach of the public office holders codes of conduct or standards of behaviour. C. Lobbyists shall not propose or undertake any action that would bestow an improper benefit or constitute an improper influence on a public office holder. 17

20 Lobbyists Code of Conduct (City of Ottawa) This is not the official version of the Lobbyists Code of Conduct (City of Ottawa). It has been printed in this document for convenience of reference. The official version can be found at Lobbyists are expected to comply with the standards of behaviour for lobbyists and the conduct of lobbying activities set out in this Code of Conduct when lobbying public office holders. 1. HONESTY Lobbyists shall conduct with integrity and honesty all relations with public office holders, clients, employers, the public and other lobbyists. 2. OPENNESS Lobbyists shall, at all times, be open and frank about their lobbying activities, while respecting confidentiality. 3. DISCLOSURE OF IDENTITY AND PURPOSE (1) Lobbyists communicating with a public office holder shall disclose the identity of the individual or organization on whose behalf they are acting, as well as the reasons for the communication. (2) Lobbyists shall register the subject matter of all communication with public office holders that constitutes lobbying under the Lobbyist Registry By-law. 4. INFORMATION AND CONFIDENTIALITY (1) Lobbyists shall inform their client, employer or organization of the obligations under the Lobbyist Registry By-law and their obligation to adhere to the Lobbyists Code of Conduct. (2) Lobbyists shall provide information that is accurate and factual to public office holders. (3) Lobbyists shall not knowingly mislead anyone and shall use proper care to avoid doing so inadvertently. (4) Lobbyists shall not divulge confidential information unless they have obtained the informed consent of their client, employer or organization, or disclosure is required by law. 18

21 Lobbyists Code of Conduct (City of Ottawa) (5) Lobbyists shall not use any confidential or other insider information obtained in the course of their lobbying activities to the disadvantage of their client, employer or organization. 5. COMPETING INTERESTS (1) Lobbyists shall not represent conflicting or competing interests without the written consent of those whose interests are involved. (2) Lobbyists shall advise public office holders that they have informed their clients of any actual, potential or apparent conflict of interest and obtained the informed consent of each client concerned before proceeding or continuing with the undertaking. (3) Lobbyists shall not lobby public office holders on a subject matter for which they also provide advice to the City. 6. IMPROPER INFLUENCE (1) Lobbyists shall avoid both the deed and the appearance of impropriety. (2) Lobbyists shall not knowingly place public office holders in a conflict of interest or in breach of the public office holders codes of conduct or standards of behaviour. 19

22 APPENDIX C OTHER CODES OF FOR LOBBYISTS GOVERNMENT Lobbying Code of Conduct (Australia) A framework for relations with interest representatives (Register and Code of Conduct) (European Commission) Code de conduite applicable aux représentants d intérêts (Assemblée nationale de la France) INDUSTRY Canada Code of Professional Conduct (Government Relations Institute of Canada) Statement of Principles (Public Affairs Association of Canada) United Kingdom Code of Conduct (UK Association of Professional Political Consultants) Code of Conduct (UK Chartered Institute of Public Relations) Guiding Principles (UK Public Affairs Council) United States Code of Ethics (American League of Lobbyists) 20

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